Home swapping really is a fantastic way to travel, you save a huge amount of money and get to really discover neighbourhoods around the world. However, arranging a home swap does require some preparation so that both you and your exchange partners can feel comfortable and fully enjoy your stays. You need to prepare your home in advance so that it is clean and inviting for your guests. Shown below are tips for the build up to a home swap.
Clean and declutter
People will understand that they are staying in a real home but it’s important that you make sure your home is clean and welcoming. Spend some time to clear away the clutter and pay special attention to the bathrooms and kitchen area to insure they are spotless. Make sure that the beds are made up with clean linens and that there are clean towels ready for your guests. Some members choose to hire in a cleaner prior to a home swap – this will usually be quite a small expense compared to the savings made from home swapping.
Store away your valuables
Although problems during a home swap are extremely rare, for peace of mind you may want to store away some items so that you know that they are not accessible by your guests. Shown below are some storage options you might consider.
- Lockable room: if you have a spare room that can be locked, this makes an excellent option for storing away valuables such as photo albums or computer that you do not want used by your guests.
- External storage: if you are planning on storing lots of items or even smaller high value items such as jewellery, you might want to consider external storage options or safety deposit boxes.
- Family: if you have family living nearby you could always ask if it would be okay to store a few small items with them for safe keeping.
Fix any potential problems
Before taking part in a home exchange make sure you’ve looked over your home for any potential hazards. Things such as a dodgy plug socket or cabling running across the floor. If there is anything that can’t be fixed/changed such as a fancy spiral staircase that might not be suitable for young children, make sure you inform your potential guests before agreeing the exchange.
Check that your home is fully equipped
One of the (many) bonuses of home swapping is that you are staying in a real home and so have all the conveniences of a real home. This makes it an excellent option for families with young children as, by arranging a swap with another family, they know that there will be things such as toys, a cot, a baby bath etc.
Some members list their second / holiday homes which may not always be as fully equipped as their main home. Before heading off for your holiday it is good to check that your home has some essentials ready for your guests, these include:
- clean towels, linens and extra blankets
- kitchen items such as pots, pans, plates, dishes, cutlery and basic seasonings such as sugar, salt and pepper
- cleaning supplies
- an ironing board and iron
- toilet paper
- a first-aid kit
- a fire extinguisher
- smoke detectors
Create a welcome pack
It’s so usefully to arrive at your home swap home and have a welcome pack left for you. It’s a great way to provide details of your home (how to use the washing machine, how to turn off the alarm, WiFi password, etc), area (shops, cafes, restaurants, take away menus, etc), transport links (where the nearest stations are and train/bus timetables, etc) and local attraction (leaflets and directions to places of interest).
As part of your welcome pack, include your contact information and also contact details for someone nearby such as a trusted neighbour. Also provide local emergency numbers such as a local plumber, electrician, doctor and also the address and number of the nearest hospital.
Leave a little gift
As home swapping is such a personal arrangement, some people also leave little welcome treats for their guests such as a bottle of wine or local delicacies. It’s also a very nice idea to leave a little note and a gift at the end of your home swap to say thank you!
Interested in home swapping? Sign up to Home Base Holidays so that you can start contacting members to arrange your home swap holidays.